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German Flag Carrier Lufthansa Has Already Taken a €250 Million Hit This Year From a Wave of Employee Strike Action

German Flag Carrier Lufthansa Has Already Taken a €250 Million Hit This Year From a Wave of Employee Strike Action

a group of people in yellow vests holding signs and a plane in the background

A wave of employee strikes at German flag carrier Lufthansa has cost the airline at least €250 million, the company’s chief financial officer, Remco Steenbergen, revealed in a leaked internal memo on Wednesday.

The multi-million Euro bill is just for the first three months of 2024, and Steenbergen warned staffers that it would be impossible to “just recuperate around €250 million”.

Lufthansa has faced strike action on multiple fronts, with the Verdi United Services Union, which represents most ground workers from engineers and baggage handlers to customer service agents and check-in staff, staging several so-called ‘warning strikes’ that last just 24 or 48 hours.

The UFO Independent Flight Attendant Organisation has also carried out its own 48-hour warning strike, grounding the vast majority of Lufthansa’s regularly scheduled flights with just a few days notice

If that wasn’t bad enough, Lufthansa is also being hit by a separate dispute between airport security officers and their employees that has shuttered airports across Germany on several occasions over the last few months.

Steenbergen warned employees that the impact of short-lived warning strikes lasted for much longer and that it took days to recover operations back to a normal level.

In addition, Steenbergen said the airline was seeing customers be much more cautious in booking flights with Lufthansa over fears they could get caught up in yet another employee walkout.

“We really want to offer our customers more reliability again – and quickly, too,” Steenbergen said in the leaked memo. “We simply can’t afford to have these industrial disputes waged at the expense of our customers, or see new wage deals concluded at the expense of our long-term competitiveness,” Steenbergen.

Lufthansa is keen to wrap up contract talks with both its ground workers and flight attendants by Easter, but the airline is unwilling to acquiesce to the union’s demands, citing the need to compete with low-cost rivals.

Following last week’s flight attendant strike, the UFO union said the walkout had brought the airline back to the negotiating table, but employees warned that they would call more industrial action if they didn’t treat the talks with the “necessary seriousness”

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